Where does Matt Kemp belong on draft boards?
We need a bit more time to say for sure. Kemp's shoulder cleanup surgery, for now, has him on track for opening day. One of the game's finest athletes has matured in recent years, so he knows how he can push his body. He learned a crucial lesson last year in not rushing back from injury, so depending on his recovery, he may not start the season on time.
That educational left hammy strain - and an aggravation not long after his return - cut short his historic early-2012 run and left his swipes column a tad ... well, robbed of output. Oddly enough, he may swap skills, to some degree, this year.
If strength in his shoulder takes its time to come back - as it reportedly did for current teammate Adrian Gonzalez during his final Boston year - he may experience a spring power outage. Kemp may compensate for this potential dead arm by going wild on the base paths.
Of course, how tolerable will any power drop-off prove to your lineup if his bat speed and lift can't elevate him? His natural talents alone could pad his stat sheet, and brass gave him more offensive help this year, but he'll probably have to play through pain and disappointment for a spell.
The easiest answer to the question points to how good he looks as your draft approaches. Maybe you can snag him at the first mixed turn and pair with someone a bit more secure. Early-bird rooms whose drafts actually count may prove skeptical, which would play to the opportunistic.
However, initial mock indications say that few cower in fear. We'll know more in the coming months, but if it's a bunch of stagnant reports on his performance, pickers at the front of a mixed board who want to pass over healthy studs for him will be relying on a whole lot of faith.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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